Preferred flour for fresh pasta?
- Cpt Wafer Dec 9, 2006 03:06 PM
What type of flour is preferred for making fresh pasta? Should I use different types depending on whether I use egg or water? I experimented the other day using AP flour and egg. I over kneaded the dough and it came out tough. Next time I want to have the proper inngredients on hand. Thanks for helping out a pasta newbie!
well, yes, semolina does inpart a nice flavor, but it is a bit courser in texture than 'regular' wheat flour and that will be reflected in your finished product. i have to say tho, that i really really really do NOT think that you overkneaded your pasta. in our restaurant we knead our fresh pasta for nearly 30 minutes in a 50-qt(!) mixer. you could not even come close to this in your home, with your hands. besides, there really could not be overkneading with pasta (UNLESS we're talking about some gnocchi with maybe a potato, etc. ingredient, where said ingredient CAN be overworked) as you are looking for maximum gluten production. even more so with semolina as an ingredient as semolina has to be worked even a little bit more than regular wheat flours to produce the same amount of gluten.
in anycase, in Italy, many times bakers use what is called 'double 00' (those are zeroes but in english its usually called 'double oh'). this label refers to the fineness of the grind of said flour tho, NOT to the protein content of that flour. so you might have a low protein flour (which would produce less gluten) that is still labelled as double 00. at the same time you could have a nice hard winter wheat high-protein flour labelled as double 00 that would be excellent for making pasta.
longwinded? sorry. i am kind of a foodgeek. at the end of the day tho, i REALLY think in this country, most any AP (all purpose) flour would produce a completely excellent pasta. toss a little semolina in there, too, yes! but do not worry about overworking it. work it!
Hello! I know you wrote this comment 8 yrs ago but it was very helpful. And, since you are the pasta expert, I was wondering what the best way to prepare fresh pasta ahead of time for company. For example, do you make it, par boil it, then before you serve it, quick boil again? Any thoughts would be great, just wondering how you would do it on your restaurant!
I prefer AP for basic pasta. Kneading enough makes a huge difference. I knead for 30 seconds in my food processer, about 5 minutes by hand, and then after an hours rest, I knead it 3-4 times with the one setting on my Atlas.
One other big secret, is that I find number 6-7 is as high as I want to go on my Atlas. Any higher and it gets too mushy. I definately prefer mine with some bite to it. This is about the same texture as dried pasta, only with the fresh pasta's amazing absorbability. (Is that a word?)
I always use AP flour for my pasta and have never had it turn out "tough." And I hand knead for a minimum of eight minutes. I agree with ben6182 that it's unlikely overkneading was your problem. Perhaps the proportion of flour to egg was off? I use a proportion of 3 large eggs to 2 cups of flour, but that can easily vary depending on the humidity as well as just how much flour the eggs can absorb.
As a newbie, it may well be that you used more flour than necessary. After mixing the egg and flour, and before kneading, you should be able to press your thumb into the ball of dough and have it come out clean. Stop adding flour as soon as your dough has reached that point.
I live at the beach and the humidity does influence the final outcome of the pasta. However, I use a recipe that I learned from my grandmother some 63 years ago. One egg, one cup of any 00 flour, one pinch of salt and enough milk to knead it without being sticky. I know this is not precise and no pasta recipe is but it works whether you are making pasta by hand or with a machine. I still knead the dough by hand so I can feel it's consistency but I use a machine to roll and cut it. To comment on the kneading, I don't think you can over knead pasta dough, as others have mentioned. You can, however, not let it rest long enough or rest it too long. That's where the humidity comes into play. Just 2 cents worth from and old guy that makes pasta two days a week.
To echo ben61820's (not at all longwinded) rec, there's a very interesting LA Times article on the Osteria La Buca site --
that talks about how Mama Buca uses "00" flour for her heavenly pasta.
To find the article, go to the site, then click on "History" then click on "Press" then pick the first article in the list on the lefthand side (latimes)
Interesting stuff. I expect this flour could be found at Surfas (here in LA) or at some Italian delis/grocery stores.